Sometimes, when I have a particularly frustrating day, which decides to compound itself into a full week of one thing after another, my mind tends to retreat into it's happy place. My mind spent a good deal of time in it's happy place this week.
I have become a believer, that the ocean can heal your soul. That might be a stretch for a farm boy who lives 14 hours drive from the nearest ocean, but the times that I've had at the ocean have been the most relaxing and rejuvenating vacations I've ever had.
It hasn't always been that way. When I was younger, the ocean was a stinky place, that was damp and gloomy, where it rained more than the sun shone. In recent years however, I've found an ocean with wind rustling palm trees, and miles of beach to walk on bare footed as the waves lap at my feet. Even if I can't do that thing where you walk along just inside the water, as it goes back and forth, back and forth. That makes me queasy and I need to sit down. I like the water to be just about to my feet, and only occasionally washing over them. I can deal with that.
So, I like being AT the ocean. I'm not all that fond of being ON the ocean.
Truthfully, being on the ocean freaks me the hell out! We've all seen that picture on the internet of the guy on the paddle board as a giant majestic whale breaches the water mere feet where from he is. Beauty and oneness with nature. I own cows, and as much as you want to be friends with something that exponentially exceeds your body mass, it's probably not going to end well. I always wonder what happens after the picture, when the tsunami that free Willy just made tosses him into 1000 feet of unexplored depths. I bathed a dog in the bathtub once, there was water everywhere, trust me, that guy's going in the drink.
Or how about surfboard guy, with the shark in the wave beside him. That looks like fun. Or not! I've been fishing before. With my dad, and as a dad with my son. You all know what fishing is? It's where you introduce a reasonable facsimile of the natural diet of a particular species of fish, in the hopes that it will entice that fish enough to be fooled into thinking it's lunch. That's surfing! Lets mimic the food source of the most efficient killing machine mother nature could devise, in the pursuit of paddling a glorified ironing board out into a series of waves with the intent of riding one of those waves to shore. Without losing a limb. Fun times.
Maybe you're a free diver? One of those people who wear oversized flippers and tempt fate by seeing how deep they can dive without the aid of oxygen or pressurized suits, trusting that they are in tune with their bodies to the point they can get as deep as they can go, and return to the surface in one breath of oxygen without blacking out. Because if you pass out under water, it's not going to be pleasant. You're going to sink to the bottom of the ocean, be crushed into a pellet the size of a pea and end up being eaten by a fish with no eyes, a light bulb thingy hanging on a tentacle in front of it's face and more teeth than tail, created by a million years of evolution. I passed out at the Rotary Park in town once because I thought I was in tune with my body and how many beers I thought I could drink, and that was unpleasant enough. I'd rather not add being in the water to that scenario.
The ocean that I know and love, and I dream about when I spend all day fixing my broke down combine, is one enjoyed from the shore. The sound of waves crashing on the beach, and the serenity of a cool breeze on my face as I stroll along with my toes in the sand. I like that ocean a lot. I've been thinking about that ocean quite a bit this last week.
.........and now that it's on my mind, I generally have a mojito in my hand when I'm there as well. Perhaps soon. At the ocean, not on the ocean.